Flowers and Their Roots

History of Flowers

In this article, we will be learning about the origins of flowers and their presence in human history. We’ll explore the records of human interaction with these exquisite blooms. These reach all the way back from the Paleolithic era to modern times.

The next section of this article talks about flowers as art subjects in ancient history. We also examine the influence they had as muses for artists of all kinds.

Last, we’ll look into a list of the most popular flowers and discover the stories behind their names!

Interested in a formal course? Want to get certified as an expert on all things floral? We encourage you to look into establishments that offer programs in floristry, such as:

  • American Institute of Floral Designers (
  • Society of American Florists (
  • American Floral Endowment (

Flowers through Human History.

How far back are flowers recorded in human history? Have they always been diverse? How diverse? How did humans discover and use them in early history?

These are only a few of the things people often ask about flowers. Here is a list of answers to some of the most pressing queries about flowers as recorded in history!

Have flowers always existed? Since when?

Yes, they have. Archaeologists have dug deep to find out when flowers first emerged. Using modern-day technology over time, they found flower fossils. With these, they assessed that flowers have been around since the prehistoric period. Their earliest estimate is around the Paleolithic age, about 93 million years ago.

Were flowers always as diverse as they are now? Or did that develop over time with human interference?

Today, there are around 270,000 species of flowers! This number continues to grow with time and scientific progress.

As for the evolution of their diversity, records only go back to about 150 years. History shows only 125,000 species already existed.

Are there flowers that have been here since ancient history?

Plants like magnolias and herbs date back to 120 million years old. This time allowed them to grow into their forms today.

Experts presume that flowering plants have been around for around 146 million years.

How did humans identify them? Did they make use of them in their everyday lives and regimen?

There is no specified record of how humans discovered flowers and plants. But there’s proof on the purpose of flowers in the daily life of humans in early history!

For instance, placing flowers on graves has been a ritual long before modern times.

Various forms of art have also used florals both as main subjects and backdrop details. From music, literature, and sculpture, people have used flowers to express themselves. Now we see how blooms have always brightened lives and made occasions more wonderful.

We’ll discover more on flowers in art below, so keep reading!


Flowers as Art Subjects in Ancient History.

From Ancient Egypt to contemporary pop art, flowers have inspired masterpieces all through history. Notable works with flowers range from clay pots to still-life paintings. Its depiction has been vital in producing several art forms and mediums.

In fact, flowers as artists’ muse in history is a course in arts studies programs. This only affirms how important blossoms are in art!

Here, we’ll look at the impression that flowers have on several periods in art history. We’ll learn what makes them so appealing to artists and audiences alike.

The lotus flower is one of the most celebrated subjects in Ancient Egyptian art. This is because of its symbolic significance in their religious myths. It was often portrayed in paintings, amulets, ceramics, and other art works. Evidence also points to the use of florals as jewelry for the royal court.

In medieval times, tapestries became sought-after as art works. This gave way to the use of flowers as backdrops for different types of scenery.

It later birthed the form of millefleur, or a “thousand flowers”. These tapestries had repeating patterns of elegant florals stitched on it.

Artists from the Renaissance also used blossoms in their myth-inspired paintings. Other artists took flowers as a prime focus in their work. They developed still-life paintings of fresh blooms and fancy bouquets.

The Impressionist and Fauvism movements also engaged the use of flowers in art. Flowers often acted as the subject of an indoor scene with a person or two beside it. Fauvism accented this using lively colors. Other times, flowers were either the focus of the artwork or the backdrop of the scene.

Today, flowers remain as a beloved muse among artists through pop art and modern 3D art.

Pop art imagines simple ordinary objects in a different light and color. 3D artists often use flowers to build a sculpture of another figure. They also pay homage to art from the Renaissance and Ancient Egypt.


Flower Names and their Origins.

Have you ever wondered where roses and calla lilies got their names from? Look no further! Here is a brief list of famous flowers and the story behind their names.


Believed to come from the Greek word carnis (” flesh”), referring to its original color. Also thought to come from corone (” flower garlands”). This is because they were first used in ceremonial crowns.



First called “lion’s tooth” thanks to the petals’ resemblance to a lion’s sharp teeth. The French translation “dent-de-lion” later morphed into the English dandelion.



In Greek mythology, flowers called “asphedelos” covered Elysian fields. Adapting the first d in the name later on, it translated to the modern daffodil.


Born from Old English poetics, daisies are an evolved variation of the phrase “day’s eye”.



Called the “Holly Tree”. Later known as “holly.” Medieval monks felt it would protect them from evil and lightning.



From Latin word lilium, from “lily of the valley”. This is because it was often located in valleys.



From Greek word orchis, “testicle”. Greeks believed if pregnant women ate these, their unborn child would turn into a boy.



Coming from the Spanish and Italian rosa. Used to name red flowers.